AbstractLake Wilcox (LW), a shallow kettle lake located in southern Ontario, has experienced multiple phases of land use change associated with human settlement and residential development in its watershed since the early 1900s. Urban growth has coincided with water quality deterioration, including the occurrence of algal blooms and depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water column. We analyzed 22 years of water chemistry, land use, and climate data (1996-2018) using principal component analysis (PCA) and multiple linear regression (MLR) to identify the contributions of climate, urbanization, and nutrient loading to the changes in water chemistry. Variations in water column stratification, phosphorus (P) speciation, and chl-a (as a proxy for algal abundance) explain 76 % of the observed temporal trends of the four main PCA components derived from water chemistry data. MLR results further imply that the intensity of stratification, quantified by the Brunt-Väisälä frequency, is a major predictor of the changes in water quality. Other important factors explaining the variations in nitrogen (N) and P speciation, and the DO concentrations, are watershed imperviousness and lake chloride concentrations that, in turn, are closely correlated. We conclude that the observed in-lake water quality trends over the past two decades are linked to urbanization via increased salinization associated with expanding impervious land cover, rather than increasing external P loading. The rising salinity promotes water column stratification, which reduces the oxygenation of the hypolimnion and enhances internal P loading to the water column. Thus, stricter controls on the application and runoff of de-icing salt should be considered as part of managing eutrophication symptoms in lakes of cold climate regions.